Maternity services to take over Northampton neighbourhood library formerly used as a community hub

As part of an agreement, the authorities are looking into ways to retain a ‘small library provision’ for children

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 4:17 pm
The library, based at Far Cotton rec, will not reopen as a library. Photo: Google Maps.

A Northampton library formerly used as a community hub will now be used for maternity services.

Far Cotton Library, on the recreational ground off Towcester Road, has been run by volunteer group Friends of Far Cotton Library since 2019.

Due to the pandemic, the library has remained closed for almost a year, however the group were working on a business plan to carry on running the premises when the team was told the site would be closing.

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Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton General Hospital have now confirmed the library will be used as a community maternity hub and any stock and furniture from the library will be used for a refurbishment of Weston Favell library.

As part of an agreement, the authorities are looking at ways to keep a small library provision for children at the site.

In a joint statement from the county and council and the hospital, a spokeswoman said: “We are currently exploring options to utilise the former Far Cotton Library space as a community maternity hub.

“This service would be managed by the community midwifery team at Northampton General Hospital.

“The plans are still in the early stages, however it is hoped that the development will provide a positive space for local people.

“As part of the agreement we are also looking at how a small library provision for children could be retained.”

Volunteers who run the library were left furious when they were told the stock would be taken away, at which point it had not been confirmed what the site would be used for.

A spokeswoman for the county council added: “Far Cotton Library was not identified to be part of the council’s statutory provision for the county and therefore would only be able to continue in the form of a community managed library.

“Over the past few years we have had many meetings and discussions with a small community group who were considering taking on the library, but a viable financial plan has not been submitted and the library has remained closed since the first lockdown in March 2020.

“Meanwhile we have also had an approach from Northampton General Hospital and as a result they are now progressing plans to utilize the former library space at Far Cotton.

“We are therefore taking steps to remove the library stock and furniture to be used elsewhere in the library service, including a much needed refurbishment at Weston Favell library.

“We have agreed to leave the library furniture and resources in the children’s area of the library for the use of the incoming organisation as a small independently run library provision.

“It is always sad to see a library close, but indications are that the incoming organisation will provide a lively and vibrant use of the space.”

A date for the maternity services takeover has not yet been announced, but more information will be released when details are finalised.

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